Do You Exercise? Indoor, Outdoor, Home or Commercial Gym?
Are you thinking about working out at home – in a home gym or with your own home gym equipment? Do you exercise now? If so, are you a regular, more on again – off again, or absolutely passionate about it? Perhaps you prefer outdoor activities or a mixture of both?
We’ll look at several pieces of equipment to enhance your overall fitness and heart health, including workouts which focus on increasing strength through weights and resistance, developing your core and various muscle groups and enhancing cardio.
- 1 Do You Exercise? Indoor, Outdoor, Home or Commercial Gym?
- 2 How Frequently Should You Exercise?
- 3 A Bit of My Backstory: From the Top Rated Home Gym Equipment to Gym Membership, then Back Home Again
- 4 Home Gym or Membership?
- 5 Working Out at Home: A Great Choice for Some
- 6 You Still Have to Make the Time and Do the Work
- 7 A Decision Based on Your Goals
- 8 Professional and Personal – At the Gym, at Home and on the Road
- 8.1 1. TRX All In One Suspension Training System.
- 8.2 2. Sunny Health & Fitness Foldable Semi Recumbent Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike w/Pulse Rate Monitoring, Adjustable Arm Resistance Bands and LCD Monitor – SF-B2710
- 8.3 3. Octane Fitness Q47xi Elliptical Machine
- 8.4 4. The Marcy 150 lb Stack Home Gym
- 8.5 5. Powerline by Body- Solid Easy-Assembly Home Gym with 160- Pound Weight Stack (BSG10X)
- 9 The Heart of the Matter
How Frequently Should You Exercise?
While estimates vary, and the answer will be based largely upon your individual fitness goals, there are some general guidelines for optimal aerobic and weight training. The good news is that even small amounts of exercise have been shown to be of significant benefit. Many experts in the field recommend 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (taking a brisk walk) 5 days a week and weight training at least 2 days a week during which you work all of your major muscle groups.
The best type of activity is the one that you will do. Whatever most appeals to you, getting in your exercise is important.
A Bit of My Backstory: From the Top Rated Home Gym Equipment to Gym Membership, then Back Home Again
Before downsizing – back when I had a big house on a tiny, suburban lot (instead of a much smaller home with acreage), I used one of my 5 bedrooms as a fully equipped home gym. I had a marvelous set-up, with the top rated home gym available at the time. It was the same equipment widely found in fire stations – a Hoist multi-stack gym. It was a real beauty and a beast.
When I moved cross country, I decided upon a very nice elliptical trainer (today’s version is an Octane Fitness Q47xi Elliptical Machine). I loved my elliptical trainer! It lived in a corner of my bedroom. My dogs used to lounge on the bed supervising my workout while offering lots of motivation.
After getting several years of regular use out of the elliptical, I sold it because I wanted to try working out at a local gym.
Home Gym or Membership?
If being at home doesn’t appeal to you, are you considering a gym membership? It is important to shop around when selecting a gym. Every gym has its own style, culture, rules, and population of regulars. Do you like the music they’re playing? Do the people you see there seem like the type you want to be with? Is it clean and safe? Is it convenient? Will you use it enough to justify the cost of membership? After visiting several, I found one that I really liked.
Then after going to the gym for a couple of years, I decided that the commute took more time than I was willing to give. I loved being there, but I didn’t enjoy getting there.
It can become a hassle when you add a commute to get to your gym on top of your workout routine. And after being recently snowed in for eight days, I got out of the habit. I realized that I really missed my workouts, but not the long drive to town. So, that put me back in the home workout equipment market and I began doing lots of research.
Working Out at Home: A Great Choice for Some
It really is more convenient to have your own exercise equipment at home. And I am saving the cost of my monthly gym membership, as well as a meaningful amount of time and fuel. With a home workout system tailored to your preferences, you have everything you need readily available to you at your convenience. From the beginner’s bench press to ultimate home gym systems, there is a piece of equipment for everyone. You can work out whenever you want in the privacy of your own home. And after your initial investment, you don’t have other on-going costs.
I didn’t mind the monthly dues when I was going to the gym 3-5 times a week. Yet I still had to pay them even when I didn’t go, couldn’t get there, or was traveling. Several times I had the motivation to work out, but not the motivation to drive to the gym. A commute down the hallway, once again, seemed ideal.
Now, with lots of property, but a down-sized home and little space for big equipment, I want maximum benefit with a minimal footprint.
So the question became, how can I get a great, low-impact workout that includes strength training and cardio at home?
The initial answer was readily apparent as I thought about one of my favorite pieces of equipment at the gym – the TRX All In One Suspension Training System. It was always popular, no matter which days of the week or times of the day I was there. It would be a great start and meets all of my criteria. My trainer showed me a routine I really enjoyed. And the professional gym had done the research on the front end – before deciding on the particular brand they now offered.
You Still Have to Make the Time and Do the Work
Of course, there are some downsides to a having a home gym. There are more distractions at home. With things always meriting our attention, it is important to schedule your workouts at home, as you would when going to the gym.
Also, you will likely have less variety, based on the equipment you decide to acquire. A commercial gym usually has a lot more pieces of equipment and offers a variety of workout options. If you tend to get bored and prefer mixing up your workouts, you’ll want to consider that when making a decision.
Most commercial gyms also offer classes and you can develop friendships with like-minded work-out devotees. These are benefits which can make a gym membership preferable, particularly if you live in an area where there are gyms nearby that you like, and which meet your needs.
A Decision Based on Your Goals
Because fitness goals and workout preferences differ from one individual to another, if you are considering a home gym, we want to help you find the best home workout equipment for your needs.
Would you like to lose weight, gain muscle, increase your endurance, and/or get more toned? Whatever you’re most interested in achieving, you will likely find something that can help you get the results you want, based on your current fitness level, available household space
So we’ll look at 5 top-rated equipment options – from a couple of effective, smaller items to complete home workout gyms. We base our ratings on extensive product research and available Amazon reviews – which are current at the time of publication. We also check and update our blogs periodically. Where applicable, our reviews also frequently include our personal experiences.
Professional and Personal – At the Gym, at Home and on the Road
My former gym offered the TRX All In One Suspension Training System. And I loved it. Working out on it was an integral part of my routine along with the various weight machines and the treadmill. With the TRX System, the straps provide resistance training without any stress on your joints, as you’re using your own body weight.
Benefits and Features of the TRX
Training System :
- This resistance system needs very little space and you can pack it up and take it with you when you are traveling. It only weighs about a pound.
- The suspension training strap and anchors let you create full-body workouts. The extensive workout guide and app make it easy to progress at your own speed and fitness level.
- You can workout anywhere you like. The system includes both indoor and outdoor anchors.
- It is safe. You will use gravity and body weight to sculpt and tone. The system is safety-tested to support up to 350 pounds of resistance.
- It is very affordable.
Limitations of the TRX Training System:
- This system is designed with straps for resistance training and doesn’t offer anything beyond that, such as cycling, rowing, treadmill, bike, free-weights.
- The straps will wear out over time (albeit a long time), and they hold up much better than resistance bands.
2. Sunny Health & Fitness Foldable
Semi Recumbent Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike w/Pulse Rate Monitoring, Adjustable Arm Resistance Bands and LCD Monitor – SF-B2710
The Sunny Health and Fitness SF-B2710 Total Body Bike could be your answer to a full and complete body workout. This indoor cycling bike works well for cardio and comes with arm resistance bands to tone your biceps and triceps, as well as leg resistance bands to help with toning and strengthening your calves, glutes, and thighs.
Benefits and Features of the Sunny Health & Fitness Exercise Bike Include:
- Digital monitor – which measures speed, time, distance, calories burned
- Multi-control magnetic resistance system
- Adjustable Inseam Height (min 31′ / max 36′)
- It is very affordable
Limitations of the Sunny Health & Fitness Exercise Bike:
Seatcould be more comfortable; several recommend adding a gel seat
- Some users (who were 5’2″ tall found the pedals hard to reach
- Takes an average of 1 hour to assemble, but is sturdy and compact
- The calorie output counter does calculate rider’s weight/height/age so it is an estimate
Benefits and Features of the Octane Fitness Q47xi Eliptical Machine
- Adjustable stride length (18″ to 26″)
- The pedals are close together for comfort and no knee strain (this benefit was the main reason I chose this brand)
- Octane’s unique SmartStride automatically matches your stride and adjusts to you
- Highly effective forward and reverse motion, which enables you to use more muscles and burn more calories, for a total-body workout
Limitations of the Octane Elliptical Machine:
- There are no limitations in terms of functionality or performance; however, this is a quality machine with a price tag to match (for me I found it totally worth the investment)
- You will want need to coordinate your schedule with a designated local technician to have your elliptical assembled (this is included in the cost if you purchase through Amazon and you will be notified of the details)
- The assembly takes approximately 4 hours and the majority of reviews are quite positive,
Benefits and Features of the Marcy Home Gym Include:
- Made with heavy-duty steel tubing and reinforced with guard rods
- Comes with a 150-pound adjustable weight stack that you can customize based on your skill level
- Has dual action press arms, which allows you to perform chest press and vertical butterfly exercises by removing or inserting a pin (enabling you to target biceps, triceps, pecs, and other muscles)
- Features an ergonomically designed seat with high-density boxed upholstery for reduced impact. There is also a bicep curl pad (which is removable) for doing isolated bicep workouts
Limitations of the Marcy Home Gym:
- While the majority of reviews at the time of this writing were very positive, regarding stability and quality, several reviewers noted that assembly took longer than they expected (most averaging between 3-4 hours)
- A couple of reviewers mentioned that following the directions step by step – particularly with regard to when and how much to tighten bolts – was very important before proceeding
- The seat is not adjustable, and a few people noted that there is limited range of motion for users who are over 5’11” so that should be taken into account when considering this option
Benefits and Features of the Powerine Home Gym Include:
- This model is a good option if you have limited space available for your home
gym Itmeasures 70″ long x 42″ wide x 80″ high
- Capable of providing you with robust and multifaceted workout capacity in a limited amount of space
- It comes 90% assembled. You only need to fasten 9 bolts for it to be fully operational
- 11-gauge steel mainframe construction gives you strength, stability, and durability
- Military-grade aircraft cables with swiveling ends and 2,200-pound tension strength
- Includes 10-year manufacturer’s warranty
Limitations of the Powerline Home Gym:
- This unit weighs 328 pounds and some carriers have a weight limit – so you’ll want to check about delivery. You may need to pick it up at their warehouse instead of receiving home delivery
- Some assembly is required, although reviews indicate it is very doable and the instructions are clear
- A few reviewers indicated that the cables were not as durable as they could be, requiring them to be replaced over time
- The 3-year extended warranty was highly recommended by some users and is generally a good idea if you plan to use the equipment frequently over time
The Heart of the Matter
The main thing to keep in mind is that you want to start wherever you are and begin doing whatever you can do. Then add to your routine, increase your time, distance, reps or whatever represents an increase for you.
Remember it is not about costly equipment – it is about being consistent. You can start without spending any money – just time and energy. You can do push-ups on your kitchen counter (as I do throughout the day). Start with one, two, or twenty-five, and increase the number over time.
You can plank on your living room floor. Start with 5 seconds, 25 seconds, or an amount of time that is challenging for you, without hurting yourself. Do stretches, walk up and down stairs repeatedly, jog in place, or just do a half a dozen bicep curls with a can of soup. Be creative.
You want to challenge yourself, and that probably doesn’t mean signing up today for a triathlon – at least not for most of us. Remember, when it comes to working out, the goal isn’t to be better than anyone else. The goal is to be better today than you were yesterday and more fit tomorrow than you are today.
Every person’s body has similarities and differences, and like buying clothes it is always preferable if you can try them on first. But that isn’t always possible, for a number of reasons. I love buying certain clothes online. And the corresponding sizes generally work well for me. I also appreciate reviews which tell me that certain items tend to run small, or fit loosely, etc. It is the same with certain pieces of exercise equipment. So if you don’t have a retailer nearby, be sure and do your homework up front. We hope you’ve found some valuable information and motivation here.
One of my favorite Napoleon Hill quotes is germane not only to business practices but to the serious and healthful business of exercise as well:
“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”